Sunday, June 23, 2019

Seven Year Anniversary

Seven years ago today, on a Saturday, we finished the last leg of our long drive in a car and a U-Haul truck from West Des Moines, Iowa, to The Villages, Florida. We were welcomed by Tropical Storm Debby, who began her deluge within 90 minutes of unloading the truck into the garage. She didn't subside for three days!

The Villages itself has changed so much since we arrived and made this home, along with 90,000 other Villagers.

Some current Villages stats:
  • 125,000+ residents
  • 32 square miles in three zip codes
  • 78 "villages" within The Villages
  • 200-250 new homes sold per month
  • 12 country clubs
  • 25 family pools (children permitted)
  • 52 neighborhood pools (adults only)
  • 10 sport pools
  • 8 fire stations
If you're as amazed as I was when I first heard about The Villages eight years ago, you can find more information here. And yes, this is a golf community; we do not golf.

Living in as-close-as-we-can-get-to-Paradise-on-earth, it can be easy to take for granted the mild weather and scenic beauty around us. So it's time for a review of what we enjoy about living here.

Farmer's Market is held at one of The Villages's three squares: Brownwood. It's here that we buy our weekly produce for making daily fresh-pressed vegetable juice. It's nice to know several vendors by name. 

We never take for granted that we get to go nearly everywhere on a golf cart (top speed: 20 mph), as  many other Villagers do too!
golf cart parking at Brownwood
The Villages has more than 90 miles of golf cart roads, some of which are shared with walkers, joggers, and cyclists on designated "multimodal paths." Because golf carts aren't permitted on state highways, tunnels throughout The Villages get us where we want to go.

Like Publix, Walgreens, and more. The Villages has 13 commercial areas, with golf cart access to the library, banks, and doctor's offices too. It couldn't be any more convenient to get around.

Multimodal paths take us past ponds, wetlands, golf courses, and lovely scenery.

We go everywhere in our golf cart, and this is the second one we've owned.

Since January 2015, we've put 23,156 miles on our golf cart!

Sometimes the golf cart road is a lane alongside automobile traffic. 

Also The Villages has many automobile roundabouts. Like several dozen of them. We always know when out-of-towners are here because many of them drive like they don't know what they're doing... and they don't!

The Villages' 35 recreation centers are where more than 2,500 clubs and activities happen, like my weekly Big Cypress Quilters. Outdoor courts for shuffleboard and boccé are popular, especially as neighborhood activities.

The exterior of our house certainly looks different than on move-in day. That Bismarck palm, planted in August 2013
August, 2013
...has become a real show-stopper, and gives lovely afternoon shade for my sewing room. 
June 23, 2019
This is our view out the front door. I adore that Bismarck, and the smaller European fan palm on the right. I'm still all about palms!

We left Iowa because our two children no longer lived there, and well... the weather. Winter snow and extremely cold temperatures made it inconvenient and uncomfortable to be out-and-about. We lived in West Des Moines for 22 years and 10 months, and I certainly left friends behind. Though I still miss them, we're no longer in touch. Lives move on.

Also what I miss more than I can express, is belonging to a church. In West Des Moines, we were active at Lutheran Church of Hope which is now a mega-church. Churches in this area aren't the same, and believe me, we've tried them! We have worshipped at 13 different churches in the past seven years, even going so far as to attend new member classes at three of them. Each time, we've been surprised and disappointed to read through a "membership covenant" to find a "rule" or expectation that doesn't sit well, that we're expected to sign. Whatever happened to a simple verbal commitment to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, and in the Holy Trinity? Sigh. Lately we're worshipping at a Baptist church with an excellent preacher, though I've resigned myself to never belonging to a church again. So you might understand how grateful I am that twice a year I have opportunities to participate in women's Bible studies (7 to 10 weeks long) in recreation centers. These studies and women are "my church."

On the healthly side of life in The Villages, Dan and I are both in much better physical condition than we were in Iowa (my breast cancer and peripheral artery disease aside, of course). He's lost 23 pounds since taking up regular Tai Chi (he takes a class and teaches a class), yoga, and abs workouts, and I'm about ten pounds lighter saying active with line dancing, power walking, and Zumba. Along with daily juicing, we both feel healthy.  

So all in all, living in The Villages is still our happy place, and hope it is for another seven years. A few times a year I desperately miss our children and grandchildren, but I know I'm not alone in those emotions. Lots of my grandmother-friends share the same feelings. That's when we go for a visit
And now, something more quilt-y related...

If you like fabrics, or English paper-piecing, Sashiko, or any hand needlework where quality threads are used, sign up for Red Thread Studio's newsletter. Jen, who came to Central Florida MQG last November to teach EPP, has an online shop in Palm Coast, Florida.

If you register for the newsletter through my link, I earn points. So if you're inclined, go here. And thank you! Linda


Paige said...

Linda, I enjoyed reading every word. Three zip codes and that many homes in a community is mind boggling to me. I know nothing about palms either, but that bismarck is a beauty.

Sue said...

What a lovely story to read Linda, and a fabulous place to live!! I know what you mean about missing grandchildren, and it gets worse as they grow up when they don't live close!

Quilting Babcia said...

Congratulations on another milestone. It sounds as if you've found a near-perfect spot for yourself and your husband. We know too well the agony of not finding a church where we felt we "belonged." We spent about 12 years while in Oregon searching for the church where we could feel the love of Christ the instant we walked through the door. When we finally found it, it turned out to be a small country church quite near our home. We were much luckier finding our church here. When we began house-hunting I had already scouted out churches of this denomination whose website seemed to show similarities to our beautiful Oregon church community, and I believe God put us in this congregation because this is where we need to be, to love and be loved, and to serve Him to the best of our abilities. We feel so very blessed!

Rosemary B❤️ said...

I enjoyed reading this Linda.
You are so sweet to share all of these things about yourself, and your sweet hubbs.
You are a gem. I love you dearie, I really really do.
❤️ I am so so glad to know you

Susan Snooks said...

Wow! 7 years! Where does the time go? Do you own a car at all Linda? I think you have travelled further in your golf cart though, than I have in my own car in the last seven years!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Loved reading this post Linda and learning a little more about you and where you live.

OPQuilt said...

Thanks for giving us a tour of where you live--it's such an interesting place, with all the resources and golf carts. And yes, we all jump on planes when we miss our grandchildren--so true!

Deb said...

Really enjoyed the recap. Also signed up for the thread. I'm doing more of that lately and loving it.

Doris said...

We had a MQG sewing retreat this weekend and were just talking about you and your move—didn’t know it was the anniversary time! We miss you!

Montse said...

Que bonita entrada amiga ,vives es un paraíso ,me ha encantado leer tu maravillosa entrada !!!!!!!! felicidades

rondiquilts said...

Beautiful area, thank you for sharing about it. I liked what you said about bible studies. In all my years I've never been involved in one. In the last year or so I have thought about trying to find one. Thanks for the tip about the newsletter.


FlourishingPalms said...

Hi Rondi! (Do you read this? You're a no-reply commenter, so that's why I'm answering you here.) Glad you enjoyed the tour of where I live. And you simply MUST find a Bible study group. I am in a Beth Moore study, usually, at least twice a year. Beth's studies are SO GOOD, and the women in Bible study are always my kind of people. :-) As for the Red Thread Studio newsletter, if you signed up, thank you!

lauraoc said...

You are very kind to share your story. You inspire me to visit the Villages when I seek out the Florida weather in the winter. What a lovely place, and lovely folks like you!

mascanlon said...

Wow! I had never even heard of the Villages before starting to follow you Linda. It certainly sounds like a amazing community with so many opportunities to be active and find like minded people. Thanks for the tour!

sandinmyshoes said...

Hi Linda, I have just finished reading your posts about "The Villages". It sounds like it is a very large, active place with just about anything there you would want to do. I love the idea of riding golf carts every where that you go. What a dream. With regards to missing your children and grandchildren, I would imagine they would also love to visit you with all of those swimming pools, and other activities. With regards to your comments about different churches you have visited and almost joined, have you ever been to an Episcopalian Church? The reason I ask is that I grew up in a country Baptist Church and once I left home after high school swore I would never attend Church again, being that the country Baptist Church was all that I knew at the time. Years went by, approximately 20 years, before I ever stepped foot into another Church. When I meet the man of my dreams, he was raised an Episcopalian his entire life. At some point I decided to go with him to a service, only to see the inside of the Church, and I loved the service and the people. I have now been an Episcopalian for approximately 27 years and still loving it. If you haven't been to an Episcopal Church, why don't you entertain the thought. I have found that most Episcopalians are very loving, kind, accepting and welcoming of all. Hope that you are having a great day.

FlourishingPalms said...

Once again, I'm unable to reply to you directly, but thank you for your comments and suggestions. We think The Villages is about the best place one can choose to live. Of course, it's always people who can make or break it for anyone. So we choose to be positive, and live that way. No, we've never worshipped Episcopalian. I'd have to look up where a church might be, but thank you for the suggestion. I will certainly give it consideration.


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